Definition of stadtholder in English:


(also stadholder)


  • (from the 15th century to the late 18th century) the chief magistrate of the United Provinces of the Netherlands.

    • ‘First, it was a republic with a stadholder as head of state, not a monarchy or empire like almost everywhere else.’
    • ‘Sarah persuaded Anne to support brother-in-law William of Orange, Protestant stadholder of the Netherlands, when he overthrew James II in 1688.’
    • ‘William's eldest son Philip William was loyal to Spain so it was Maurits who was appointed stadholder of Holland and Zeeland, or the United Provinces of the Netherlands, in 1584.’
    • ‘The second phase began when disorder among the Spanish emboldened all the provinces to proclaim William their stadtholder, neatly reaffirming his imperial title while underlining their relative independence.’
    • ‘The final Anglo-Dutch conflict ended in 1674, ushering in a peaceful period that was reinforced when Mary, the English Catholic daughter of James II, married her Protestant cousin Williams ill of Orange, stadtholder of the Netherlands.’


Mid 16th century: from Dutch stadhouder ‘deputy’, from stad ‘place’ + houder ‘holder’, translating medieval Latin locum tenens.